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Consumer Cellular

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3.9

Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: February 22nd, 2024
Number 3 in Blue Circle

3 Things to Look for in a Cell Phone Provider

  1. Coverage  — Look for a cell phone provider that has 4G LTE/5G coverage nationwide and check online for possible deadzone areas.
  2. Affordable Plans — Look for a company that offers multiple plans in an affordable price range. Check to see if the plan offers unlimited talk and enough data to cover your needs.
  3. Device Options  — Look for a cell phone provider that provides service to different types of devices including tablets, smart watches, flip phones, and major smartphone brands.

Consumer Cellular is a small, no-contract mobile phone provider that offers low-cost cell phone plans starting at $20 per month (not including tax or data add-on) for unlimited texts and 250 minutes. From there, plans can be customized to include unlimited minutes and data amounts up to 25 GB per month per line for customers who want to take advantage of app downloads, high definition video, and other uses of the 5G, 4G LTE, 4G, and 3G network. For Consumer Cellular's most advanced plan of two phone lines, unlimited talk, and 25 GB of data, you'll pay around $75 per month.

The company is especially dedicated to meeting the needs of users who are 50 and older, offering AARP members exclusive discounts on its services and Connect plans that sync well with flip phone devices if preferred. Plus, a completely U.S. based customer service team is trained to help inexperienced cellphone users learn how to get the most out of their service and device.

Partnering with well-known brands and retailers, Consumer Cellular phones include nationwide coverage, and its services are located in Target stores nationwide.

Because Consumer Cellular is a budget-friendly cell phone provider, its offerings come up short when compared to other larger-scale companies. For example, Consumer Cellular does not offer unlimited data plans. If you want unlimited data, Consumer Cellular is not the provider for you.

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The Good

  • No-Contract Plans
  • Affordable Plans
  • Unlimited Text
  • Coverage Area
  • Device Options
  • EasyPay Service
  • Mobile App
  • Great Overall Benefits
  • Risk-Free Trial

No-Contract Plans

Consumer Cellular offers no-contract Talk and Connect plans with straightforward benefits.

Additionally, all of the Connect monthly plans include unlimited text messaging. Customers can add phone lines to their plan for $15/month to share minutes, text and data. There are never any additional fees or charges for switching plans if you need more or less from the service. Consumer Cellular has a great option for low-cost family plans, especially for those who don't use phones very often.

You can try Consumer Cellular risk-free for 30 days. If you aren't satisfied, the company won't charge you for that time.

Affordable Plans

Consumer Cellular offers a variety of affordable data plan options that customers can choose from. Its website breaks it down into the number of lines you want, the talk plan you prefer, and the amount of data you want. You choose which option you want from each category and Consumer Cellular's website will give you an immediate estimate on your monthly bill. Here's a breakdown of your options:

  • Phone Lines — One line included in the cost or two lines for $15 per month
  • Talk Plans — 250 minutes of talk for $15 per month or unlimited talk for $20 per month
  • Connect Plans — 500 MB for $5 per month, 3 GB for $10 per month, 10 GB for $20 per month, 15 GB for $30 per month, or 25 GB for $40 per month. All Connect Plans include unlimited text.

If you're a customer wanting one phone line, unlimited talk, and the maximum 25 GB of data, you'll pay around $60 per month.

If you are a customer wanting two lines, unlimited talk, and the maximum 25 GB of data, you'll pay a monthly price of around $75 per month.

Unlimited Text

Although Consumer Cellular makes customers pay more for unlimited talk and additional data, you do not have to pay for unlimited text. Unlimited text is included with all of Consumer Cellular plans. This makes unlimited talk and text for one line $20 per month without data and $60 per month with the maximum 25 GB of data.

Coverage Area

Consumer Cellular coverage is nationwide and only involves a few spotty patches in the Midwest.

Most of the 4G LTE/5G coverage area includes High-Definition Voice coverage, also called wideband voice, which provides clear audio and reduces background noise. It should be noted that Consumer Cellular utilizes multiple wireless networks that vary depending on geographic area and so precise coverage areas from your network may not be determined until you sign up for service.

If you want to check Consumer Cellular coverage in your area, you can do so on the company's website. All you need to do is enter your zip code, and Consumer Cellular will tell you if you're covered. It will also provide you with a coverage map of the entire united states. For exact coverage details, you can drop a pin anywhere on the coverage map.

Device Options

Depending on plan preferences and mobile device needs, Consumer Cellular has a wide array of mobile device options available. Consumer Cellular phones include basic flip-phones for calling and texting, the GrandPad (a senior-friendly tablet), and smartphones for customers who plan on downloading and using apps. Samsung smartphones, Android phones, and iPhones are all compatible with Consumer Cellular coverage and plans.

Customers also have the option to simply use their current mobile phone (under certain conditions) when signing up for a new Consumer Cellular plan. The company provides a free SIM card that is easy to switch out and there are no activation fees for Consumer Cellular phones. It should be noted that in order to be compatible with the SIM card, the phone needs to be:

  • a Consumer Cellular phone
  • a phone previously used with AT&T or T-Mobile (includes Apple and Android phone options and more
  • an unlocked phone (GSM)

It is possible to use a previous phone number, but it depends on the location and the old service provider.

When purchasing a device from Consumer Cellular, customers can choose between a new phone or a certified pre-owned phone if one is available. Certified pre-owned phones are phones that were returned by customers in the 30-day guarantee period and are restored to original factory settings.

EasyPay Service

It also offers an EasyPay service where you can make monthly payments to pay off more expensive phones like iPhones or Android smartphones. Consumer Cellular does not charge interest or additional fees. Customers can make early payments or pay off the remaining balance at any time.

Mobile App

The My CC app gives users the following capabilities:

  • View minutes and data usage
  • Change billing preferences
  • Switch monthly plan if needed
  • Switch to paperless billing options
  • Pay monthly bill
  • Chat with customer service reps
  • View AARP membership card

Great Overall Benefits

Because the company targets retirees, the cellular service plans tend to be very inexpensive for those who aren't looking for a lot of data, text messaging, or minutes. WiFi calling is supported on iPhone models 5C and newer as well as most Android smartphones. Consumer Cellular has no fees for any of their services, and because they have no contracts, there is no activation fee.

AARP member benefits include:

  • 5 percent off monthly fees and usage charges
  • 30 percent off select accessories

Risk-Free Trial

Consumer Cellular offers a 100 percent risk-free trial for all of its customers. If you decide you no longer want Consumer Cellular's services or products within 30 days of purchase, you can request a full refund. This makes Consumer Cellular completely risk free and gives customers peace of mind that they don't have to be locked into its services if they decide to opt out within the first month.

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The Bad

  • Limited Data Plans
  • Additional Phone Line Cost
  • Cap on Roaming Charges
  • Poor Consumer Cellular Reviews

Limited Data Plans

Consumer Cellular is designed to benefit those who want a cell phone, but do not plan on using a lot of data. For those who want basic minutes and text messaging capabilities, Consumer Cellular is a good provider.

However, if a potential customer wants to use a phone to frequently stream videos and music, surf the internet, utilize email, and communicate via social media apps, this company likely isn't the best choice. Consumer Cellular doesn't offer unlimited data-the highest plan includes only 25 GB of data.

Additional Phone Line Cost

Consumer Cellular family plans cost an additional $15 for every added phone line on your plan. Although an added price per phone line is common with most cell phone providers, typically it is less than $15 per month.

With many cell phone companies, having more phone lines on your plan makes your cell phone coverage cheaper. If you don't want to pay $15 for every phone line you want on your plan, we suggest looking into other cell phone providers.

Cap on Roaming Charges

While Consumer Cellular attaches lower international roaming charges than leading cell phone companies like Verizon and T-Mobile (30 cents versus 99 cents per minute of talk), the company also places strict monetary caps on roaming, disabling the phone once roaming charges have reached or exceeded $100 for the monthly billing cycle. While this measure is intended to protect the customer from racking up hundreds of dollars in roaming fees, the cap may be inconvenient to some.

Poor Consumer Cellular Reviews

Although Consumer Cellular has some competitive offerings with a low price and no required contract, consumers haven't given the company many accolades. Consumer Cellular reviews are mostly negative, giving the cell phone provider a low overall consumer rating.

Consumer Cellular reviews rank decent for value for your money but for quality of product and service, customer service, and company trustworthiness, the company falls short. One of the main customer complaints that shows up again and again in reviews is unresponsive and unreliable customer service and technical support, many reviews noting you are either neglected completely or passed around from person to person when trying to receive help.

With the issues Consumer Cellular reviews reveal, customers don't seem to think the low price is worth the bad service.

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The Bottom Line

This is one of the best prepaid phone service carriers on the market for consumers seeking simplicity and flexibility in a phone plan. If you need to adjust your talk or data amounts or add or remove a phone line, there are no fees to make those changes. You can also have unlimited talk and text for a monthly price of $20 for one phone line (this excludes data).

Consumer Cellular customers can expect reasonable pricing (based on limited services), a month-to-month payment platform, quality coverage nationwide, and plan flexibility.

Consumer Cellular is a great option for those who don't need a lot of data but want ample minutes and messages available to spend time talking or texting. The carrier has excellent AARP member benefits and has comparable coverage to the GSM networks it uses, T-Mobile and AT&T.

Perhaps most noteworthy is that Consumer Cellular service is month to month, so you can cancel at any time. Consumer Cellular's customer service is also based in the United States and generally responds promptly to customers.

You can try Consumer Cellular risk-free for 30 days. If you aren't satisfied, the company won't charge you for the time you joined.

However, along with these pros, there are definitely some cons to Consumer Cellular. Consumer Cellular charges $15 for every added phone line on your plan. Many cell phone companies offer better discounts the more lines you add on your plan. If you're a customer wanting more than two phone lines on your plan, you may have better savings with another cell phone provider.

Consumer Cellular coverage also does not include an unlimited plan for data. This makes the service difficult for customers not wanting a limit on how much data they can use.

Lastly, Consumer Cellular reviews are mostly negative, the majority of them highlighting poor customer service.

If you want a no-contract cell phone plan with a small number of phone lines and up to 25 GB or data, Consumer Cellular may be a good provider for you.

However, if you want discounted family plans and if a low price and limited data is not worth poor customer service, we suggest looking into other cell phone providers.

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Star Rating

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2.1

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768 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

27%

4 grade

5%

3 grade

5%

2 grade

10%

1 grade

53%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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Quality

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Service

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Trustworthiness

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Laura Di Orio Green Bay, WI

I have had consumer cellular for about 4 years. I have never had a problem and have traveled to many states. Mostly the east coast and I never had a problem with coverage. I like the plans, I pay less than 50 dollars a month for 2 lines. The only reason for the 4 stars and not 5 is there is no physical store to go to. You need to call them or chat on line but they have always been very helpful with any problems or questions. I will keep using Consumer Cellular.

6 days ago

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Tom Richard St Louis, MO

The above review is erroneous (and it claims to be dated April 2023!). Specifically, the review states, "Consumer Cellular doesn't offer unlimited data-the highest plan includes only 25 GB of data." That is patently false. I switched to Consumer Cellular from ATT precisely because I could get unlimited phone, text and data(throttled at 50GB - same as ATT) for both my iPad and iPhone for $61.75/month. ATT quoted me a price of over twice that, so I switched. I no longer worry about excessive data use, and I notice no change of call quality, but I haven't traveled with the phone since switching. That will be the real test. So far, I'm very satisfied, though.

10 months ago

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Kerry Clipper Harrison, AR

Service works as expected. Tried other mvno but came back as service better here. Techs are good at helping too. Been customer for many years. They are a couple dollars more but the service makes up for that. I would highly recommend over other options. Same service as AT&T at half the price.

7 months ago

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Rick Deckard Hernando, FL

Elderly Retired: My wife and I moved from Verizon to CC over 5 years ago for cutting our monthly cell phone bill less than half. Less than $50 per month for 2 phones was a no-brainer! We started with the “Huawei Ascend 2” and loved this phone! A little over a year ago we both moved to the iPhone 6S. This phone is a bit narrower than the Huawei and much lighter! We both like the iPhone with all its great features and both sync our phones to iTunes for loading music! The only drawback with the iPhone is we never knew when we had a voice mail? Voicemail Screen in our phone app was always blank! Always had to dial “1” to check to see if we had voicemail! Recently had a friend with an iPhone 8 show her Voicemail tabbed screen alerting incoming voicemails with even a little recording on her Phone. So why don’t we have this feature with CC? First Customer Support call was a Female in Oregon. She did mention that I need to set up my “Visual Voicemail” but could not walk me through that setup on this first call! I then did some Google searching and found this: Receiving the notification is a feature provided by your service provider - it's called a MWI (Message Waiting Indicator). Generally it requires a bind between their voicemail server and their SMSC so that the notification can be passed to your phone over the SMS network. In general, these are sent as "push" notifications - the server informs your phone you have a voicemail. This is what allows your phone to produce an alert/notification even when it is locked and the voicemail app isn't running. Essentially, if you're having issues with this, but can still access your voicemail, then you should push back to your service provider using the above details to sound like you know what you're talking about iPhone Visual Voicemail needs to be provisioned on the customer account. iPhone Visual Voicemail also requires a back end Visual Voicemail server on the phone company's end. If they don't have one, a customer's iPhone will only receive regular voicemail, with no way for the phone app to indicate any number of messages received. Armed with this great bit of information I called Charlotte Customer Support in Arizona! She brought up my recent call case info and could not understand why the first agent did not activate Visual Voicemail on our 2 phones? Does this cost any extra? No this feature is included in all of our iPhone plans! Now I am wondering why this was never activated when we moved from Android to iPhones? After she left me on hold to accomplish this activation she came back to talk me through Visual Voicemail set up. Do you have latest IOS? Yes Version 12.2! Again after trying several different steps we could not get it to work. She suggested that it might be my only one or two bar signal strength at my house and I need to drive to a stronger cell signal need at least 3 bars. Ok I will try that. Well this did not work either! On my third call to Nicha in Arizona she did a reset of my mailbox and I still could not set up Visual Voicemail? After doing some more Google searching about this issue I found that I might try restoring my phone to a recent backup in iTunes. We don’t use iCloud so our phones are backed up to PC and MacBook! This did erase current saved text messages and my wife was a little upset losing those! Sure enough doing a Backup Restore in iTunes suddenly activated Visual Voicemail on the reboot! Although we like CC for its great prices and great coverage in Florida there is a definite lack of strong technical support from customer service! Hope this may help those out there in this CONUNDRUM!

4 years ago

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Roger Clarksville, TN

The price is right! Can not beat Consumer Cellular for value. Usually have no problem with calls most everywhere in the US. However, customer service has declined since we signed up. A couple of years ago we could call and an agent would pick right up. Now, it's a wait or use automated call-back. Biggest drawback is that credit card company and the IRS could not send a verification code to my phone because the number "could not be verified" as belonging to me! I'm told by CC customer service that my caller ID will only ever show up as "wireless caller," never my name unless the call is to someone with me in their contacts. That explains the problem . A real drawback but I guess worth putting up with given the price of service with CC is a fraction of directly with a wireless carrier.

5 years ago

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Squeaky Chicago, IL

I've used Consumer Cellular for four years. I stay with them because they're a great value and have reliable service. Instead of adding high fees when I go over my plan's limit, they just bump me up into the next-level plan, which is just a few dollars more. At the end of that billing period, I switch back to the lower-cost plan. It's painless and very affordable. Their fees are extremely reasonable and as far as I know have not even gone up since I've been a customer. They also do not require a contract. When I first became a customer, they didn't have a very good selection of phones, but that's improving; they have phones by Apple and Samsung now (although I use a great little Moto that I love that was only $100). The only reason I would not give them five stars is because their e-mail support is awful. If you have a technical problem, call them and speak to a live human. Their phone support is good. But if you e-mail them with a problem, you'll get a cut-and-paste reply that makes little sense and probably won't solve your problem. Skip it and call them instead. I have never used their phone service in another country, so I can't comment on that.

5 years ago

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Andy Anderson Pahrump, NV

I've had this service for more than ten years. They are a bit backward. Latest example The sim card became obsolete. They replace it for free after it shuts down your phone. I had to pay $10 to expedite shipping which is by USPS and is being delivered after two days. No other options allowed. I will be looking into other providers.

10 months ago

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Debbie Littell Fredericksburg, VA

Great service all around. Monthy cost very inexpensive. Customer Service very helpful always. The only negative in 7 years is reset password. They have the worst reset policy of any company out there. To worried about privacy. There are so many ways to allow access but their staff is not allowed to reset. NEEDS FIXED. If not for password issue a 10 star rating for sure.

1 year ago

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TheRustyScupper Clermont, FL

Changed carriers for cost. Consumer was definitely a better buy. Had a login problem and called their USA Tech Service. Initial person could not help, as this was a new issue. Was transferred to a "senior tech", who thought he knew. Fixed problem in about 5-minutes. Other than the login issue, would have rated a "5-Star". AND, NO WE ARE NOT PAID TO WRITE THIS REVIEW.

1 year ago

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Tim Leaman Cincinnati, OH

Company offers good service and fair rates but doesn’t have a decent flip phone. Have had a few Doros now and this latest 7050 is a piece of junk. So many issues, i.e. fails to ring, texting is terrible, slow, and impossible to get correct fonts and letters correctly at times. Can’t hear as clearly as the old one! Get a decent inexpensive phone for us old farts who don’t spend all day taking selfie’s!

2 years ago

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Richard Overland Park, KS

The service works well and is much less expensive than my previous AT&T plan. The AT&T customer service (Overseas) became just horrible so I switched. Consumer cellular service is all US based and my experience has been positive so far. The only downside is to get international coverage, the phone needs to operate on the T-Mobile network (you will need a T-Mobile SIM card) and you need to place a $50 deposit with the company, from which your international charges will be deducted. Hopefully they will expand their coverage to include AT&T For international roaming in the future.

4 years ago

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Georgia Brazzell Cantonment, FL

We have just begun service with CC so cannot comment on long term, but with set up, cost of phone, Samsung Galaxy J7 and estimated monthly cost, it is exactly what we are looking for and cheaper than what we had. CC has already emailed and called to see if they can do anything else for us at this time. Just gave 4 stars because don't have long term experience with CC.

6 years ago

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wayne Desert Hot Springs, CA

I had mostly good service from them as far as cellular service is concerned. It is very weak where I live. The in person customer service lacks.in cathederal city. Have a hard time setting up a new phone and saving the old info, pics, etc. Sometimes they cannot! and you lose it all.

5 years ago

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Mike Bell Thomaston, GA

Love the price compared to Verizon got my wife a new phone already had one for myself no many reception issues only problem is when we walk into a Wal-Mart there roofs have s built in bearer so it tends to block single. This is not just with CC we had this similar problem even with Verizon. All in All good company

5 years ago

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Shelli Barnes

What I like about them is their low monthly cost compared to my previous carrier and I get unlimited calls and texts Plus the use the same towers as my previous carrier so I get the same service..

5 years ago

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David Cape Coral, FL

When I was with this company I liked them a lot. They were inexpensive, reliable and their service was good. Some where along my moves I just lost track of them and now I'm with T-Moble. There is absolutely no reason that I would not go back with Consumer Cellular.

2 years ago

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Rocatta Tait Norfolk, VA

Transferring service from T-Mobil to CC was incredibly difficult. It took literally hours on the phone, 1 new phone, and 3 SIM cards. The customer service reps failed to return calls or follow up and wait times were extensive. Since then I have been very pleased with CC ability to provide quality phone service at 2/3 the cost.

3 years ago

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LifeOn Adventure Newport, KY

Prices great! Plans are changeable! Simple to understand website. I have used the the on-line chat and called customer service with good results. I purchased my phone with them because it made it easy to pay for it on one bill.

3 years ago

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Carol Lewis Myrtle Beach, SC

I purchased this service for my brother. The price is good and the products are adequate. They are a no frills kind of company, but perfect for seniors!

3 years ago

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Grote Bag San Jose, CA

Value, they provide value. My bill with CC is less than half what Verizon charged me. Best part is if you are approaching your limits you are alerted in advance and offered ways to solve that problem in advance at no charge.

3 years ago

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David s Newton

prices is less than half of Verizon, which i had for 20 years. however, as soon as i switched the junk mail started pouring in. like 100 per day.

3 years ago

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Anonymous

Threre are definitely customer service friendly. It would be a no brainers for them to offer a military discount to Veterans.

4 years ago

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Thomas Groveport, OH

Good prices. Only problem was service in eastern North Carolina when we stayed at a place about 60 miles west of the Outer Banks.

5 years ago

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john a williams Rocklin, CA

they do everything well. It is sometimes difficult to reach someone but they have a lot of senior customers like me so i can understand.

5 years ago

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Smiley Nashville, TN

All good. One bad encounter with a phone rep. Not bad for three years of otherwise problem-free service.

4 years ago

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luke klemm Farmington, NM

The service is great, excellent coverage and the add a line is cost effective. I'd recommend them

1 year ago

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Justin Bongard Statesville, NC

Definitely recommend as a budget option. It doesn't have mobile hotspot or wifi calling options.

4 years ago

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Scott Broughton

Very good Customer service, fair coverage and very good pricing.

4 years ago

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Elizabeth Thornton Forest, IN

I like that you only pay for what you need and can personalize your plan

5 years ago

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tracys2cents Burbank, CA

No problems with the service but their inexpensive "ZTE" phone is the worst choice. Avoid!

2 years ago

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markcraig457 Los Angeles, CA

They have no contract. Reasonably priced.

3 years ago

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Maria Carmody

It's very affordable and good customer service

4 years ago

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Jack Jacksonville, TX

Customer service is what makes it a keeper.

4 years ago

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Karen Holritz Beaumont, CA

no dropped calls good customer service and billing

4 years ago

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ANDREA Pusateri Crestview, FL

No contract, but the rates keep going up.

5 years ago

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jeff borsecnik Bellingham, WA

good pay plan, also cheap, and got a deal on phone

5 years ago